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Growing Reader

Books on Growing Up for
Kids Ages 6 – 8

by Jennifer Garry

growing reader growing up
Image credit: MoMo Productions/Getty Images

It’s easy to lose sight of what a hard job growing up is. From learning and understanding big emotions to conquering fears and looking towards the future, it can be scary and exciting all at once.

These eight books on growing up are a great way to show kids ages 6 to 8 the magic of this journey, while also letting them know that growing pains are totally normal.

  • A Letter to My Teacher

    by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

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    Written as a thank you note to a teacher from a former struggling student, this sweet, funny story centers around a girl who had trouble sitting still in class. She has never forgotten the teacher who gently listened to everything she needed — whether she was able to vocalize it or not. At the end, we learn that the girl grew up to be a teacher herself!

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  • My Heart

    by Corinna Luyken

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    Sometimes growing up means learning to manage big feelings. This beautiful, lyrical book is a reassuring ode to ever-changing emotions. With statements like “My heart is a window. My heart is a slide. My heart can be closed…or opened up wide,” it teaches little readers to care for their own hearts as well as the hearts of others. With themes of kindness, empathy, and self-acceptance, it is a must-read.

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  • Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle

    by Chris Raschka

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    Learning to ride a bike is a big milestone in a child’s life — but it can also be a little scary. This book acts as a guide of sorts, following a father and daughter as they work through each of the steps. It gives readers an idea of what to expect, with pictures that manage to capture the rollercoaster of emotions involved in the process.

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  • The Seed of Compassion

    by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, illustrated Bao Luu

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    In this book, His Holiness the Dalai Lama shares lessons of peace and compassion, told through stories of his childhood. Through everyday moments, the Dalai Lama shows young readers that there are important lessons all around us and emphasizes the importance of kindness.

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  • The Day You Begin

    by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

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    Sometimes growing up means feeling like an outsider, but finding the courage to connect — even when it scares you. This poignant story highlights kids who feel different because of a variety of reasons, including how they look or talk or spend their vacation. It shows the magic that happens when you find your voice, reach out, and share your story anyway.

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  • The Wonderful Things You Will Be

    by Emily Winfield Martin

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    This book is a parent’s sweet imagining of what their child may grow up to become. With rhythmic text and beautiful (sometimes funny) illustrations, Emily Winfield Martin manages to capture all of the love and hope parents are filled with when looking at their children and imagining their futures.

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  • Someday

    by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Rosie Winstead

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    While The Wonderful Things You Will Be looks to the future from a parent’s perspective, Someday centers on a child’s dreams of how her life will unfold compared to what her present day looks like. One day, she hopes to be a famous painter. Today, she’ll help her dad paint the garage. One day, she’ll be an archaeologist, but today she’s digging up coins in the couch. Dreamy and sweet, young readers will find it relatable and it will inspire them to think about their own futures.

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  • Jabari Jumps

    by Gaia Cornwall

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    Working up the courage to try new, challenging things is a big piece of growing up. Jabari Jumps is the story of a little boy who is almost ready to make a big leap — he just needs a little help from his patient, encouraging dad before he takes the big plunge.

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